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Depixus raises £26.8m in Series A round to power MAGNA dynamic genomics technology

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Depixus, a biotechnology company headquartered in Paris with a Cambridgeshire R&D facility at Harston Mill, has raised £26.8million in an oversubscribed Series A financing round.

The financing will support development of a commercial instrument system based on the company’s proprietary and disruptive MAGNA technology. The company was founded in Paris in 2012. The Cambridge office opened in 2015.

A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell
A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell

MAGNA is set to unlock the field of dynamic genomics: it can decode new layers of multi-omic information from large numbers of individual native molecules of DNA, RNA, and protein.

The platform unlocks dramatic new insights into the largely unmined richness of this ‘dynamic genome’ by detecting changes beyond the four-base sequences of DNA and RNA, paving the way to revolutionise molecular diagnostics and drug development.

Detection of abnormal changes in base modification patterning have been shown to underpin many disease processes. The MAGNA technology will greatly accelerate access to this complex layer of the dynamic genome, opening up significant opportunities in the earlier detection and improved management of major diseases such as cancer.

Agnieszka Rutkowska, lead electrochemist at work in the lab. Picture: Keith Heppell
Agnieszka Rutkowska, lead electrochemist at work in the lab. Picture: Keith Heppell

Moreover, the way in which nucleic acids, especially RNA, are folded and structured is also critical to biological regulation. With MAGNA these structures can often be revealed and analysed in detail. Large numbers of individual molecules of DNA and RNA are captured in their native form, immobilised within a flow cell, and are then available for repeated interrogations that can reveal a broad range of features including base modifications, molecular structure, and interactions with other nucleic acids, proteins, or drugs. These capabilities unlock previously unattainable insights into the dynamic genome.

The successful fundraising was co-led by Lansdowne Partners and the PSIM Fund operated by Bpifrance on behalf of the French state, with participation by Casdin Capital and existing investors including Arix Bioscience.

The new financing brings the company’s total equity and grant funding to-date to more than £46m.

A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell
A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell

John Berriman, chairman of Depixus, said: “Depixus has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception. We are now confident that MAGNA instruments will provide unique and economical insights into the development and treatment of disease.

“This is a very exciting time for the company as it progresses from pre-commercial research towards the launch of products.”

The funds will be used to further develop its proprietary MAGNA instrument system, workflows, and reagents towards commercial launch.

Following this capital raise, Lachlan MacKinnon and Thibaut Roulon will join Mark Chin of Arix Bioscience, Ronald Lindsay, Steve Allen, Gordon Hamilton, and John Berriman on the board of directors.

A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell
A MAGNA chip. Picture: Keith Heppell

Lachlan MacKinnon, board member and representative of Lansdowne, said: “I am truly excited to join the board of Depixus at this critical moment in the company’s history.

“The Depixus technology will enable scientists and biotechnology companies to move from a world of measuring DNA and RNA as linear, one-dimensional sequences to one of dynamic, three-dimensional objects with many base modifications, at scale.

“Having seen the impact of methylation detection on liquid biopsy, I look forward to the company making sizeable contributions across the wider dynamic genomics landscape.”

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